That three men who lived in the same block of Pine Street all received Victoria Crosses for valiant service during World War I might be a remarkable coincidence. Or maybe it’s emblematic of a Winnipeg mindset: to help others and persevere even through difficult times.
Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick Hall and Lieutenant Robert Shankland all demonstrated extraordinary courage under fire during separate battles; only Shankland survived. They are three of the 94 Canadians ever to have received the medal for most exceptional bravery in the presence of the enemy. In 1926, Pine Street was renamed Valour Road in their honour.
One hundred years after WWI began, their Victoria Crosses were brought together for the first time in Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Foundation supported the initiative of the Royal Military Institute of Manitoba in partnership with the Manitoba Museum. Displayed from August to November, the medals were accessible to all, a reminder of the spirit and courage that has shaped our community.
“I think the exhibit offers a window into who the average Winnipegger was in 1914 and what they considered important,” says Major Paddy Douglass of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.
“It emphasizes that these were not necessarily extraordinary men; rather they were run-of-the-mill folks who were placed, of their own accord, in extraordinary circumstances and rose to the challenge. This is significant, as it could relate to the Winnipeg of today, right down to the fact that two of the three men from Pine Street were recent immigrants to a new and booming nation of Canada, which was not yet 50 years old.”
Manitoba Museum is one of more than 170 charitable organizations that has an Agency Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation. An Agency Fund provides a sustainable source of income for a charity. Click here to learn more about organizations with agency funds.